Pedagogy of the Oppressed Eater: Teaching Laura Esquivel’s Íntimas suculencias NIEVES PASCUAL 177
NIEVES PASCUAL Pedagogy of the Oppressed Eater: Teaching Laura Esquivel’s Íntimas suculencias1 1. Introduction I begin by revisiting the question ‘What is food?’, which Roland Barthes asks in ‘Toward a Psychology of Contemporary Food Con- sumption.’ His reply is simple: Food ‘is not only a collection of products that can be used for statistical and nutritional studies. It is also, at the same time, a system of communication, a body of images, a protocol of usages, situations and behavior.’ As the best tool for analysis he recommends: ‘information about food must be gathered whenever it can be found: by direct observation in the economy, in technique, usage and advertising, and by indirect observation in the mental life of a given society’ (Barthes 2008: 29). In other words, food is not only something edible and sustaining, it is a cultural object and a cultural mediator about which information can be gathered in diverse fields. Barthes’ model, however, overlooks the communicative function of food when served on the pages of a literary text, even though literature is a system of communication and a perfect vehicle for the transmission of cultural protocols. 1 This article is part of the research project ‘De boca en boca: Comida y trans- culturación’ (P08-HUM-03956). My gratitude to the Junta de Andalucía for their financial support in sponsoring this project. Thanks must also go to all the students in the course SPAN 3031.01, University of Northern Iowa, Winter Se- mester, 2012. 178 Nieves Pascual 2....
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